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Dear Editor:

To my fellow community members, I am writing this letter because I feel I must speak out after reading last Thursday’s article in The Mountain Mail regarding the University of Colorado lawsuit and Kimberly Parker. I believe the article is a strategic move on the part of The Mountain Mail to influence this election on the eve of the mailing of ballots rather than the reporting of a “news event.”

Especially when emotions are running so high on a national level, I expect better from our hometown newspaper. Kimberly Parker is a candidate for Chaffee County commissioner and is strongly supported by many elected officials and community leaders in Chaffee County.

During my legal career I prosecuted sexual assault cases as a state prosecutor. I know firsthand the anguish sexual assault and harassment victims endure and the courage it takes to speak out and bravely stand up for themselves. Even years later after serving 20 years as a career federal prosecutor, I can remember the look on the faces of many victims as I talked to them about coming forward and testifying.

I was always heartened by their courage and strength in the courtroom. It is incomprehensible to think that our local newspaper would try to make a survivor relive those difficult experiences under the guise of “news,” especially in view of the fact that this case was reported on several years ago in the Daily Camera newspaper.

One consequence of the Mountain Mail article, which attempts to distract from the real issues in the Chaffee County Commissioner’s race and undermine Kimberly Parker’s campaign, is to send a disturbing and chilling message to the women in our community. Instead of supporting and showing respect for victims of sexual assault or harassment, The Mountain Mail is saying that victims’ nightmares may never end.

The timing of this story is certainly suspect, appearing less than a week before the general election ballots are mailed to voters. I know that we as a community are better than this in Chaffee County. The Mountain Mail article is a bold attempt to poison the well and influence voters.

Please consider the real issues, like affordable workforce housing, broadband for our valley and a new comprehensive plan. Join me in voting for Kimberly Parker when you receive your ballot in the mail next week. Kimberly Parker is a brave, intelligent and articulate candidate, and just as she fought for herself, she will fight for our community.

Daniel J. Cassidy
Retired Federal Prosecutor
Salida